How is an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) version of Windows different from its Retail version?

Microsoft recently unveiled the new features of Windows 10, which are in fact phenomenal for the present world. Also, at first it was expected that Windows 10 will be a free upgrade, even for the users who are running the pirated versions of Windows. But, recently it was confirmed that there will be no free Windows 10 upgrade for the users who are currently running the pirated version.

As we also know, that the Windows 10 will be the last version (codenamed Threshold). However, the code names may change. So, it’s the right time to get away from all the confusions between the two versions of Windows available to purchase at different rates.

First, the Windows OEM version

oem screenshot
Windows 8 Pro OEM version

As the name suggests, it’s something related to the manufacturer or the system builder. If you have an OEM version installed then you would find the manufacturers logo in the properties. And, it majorly differs from the retail version at its price tag. The OEM version is way cheaper than the retail version. That’s why most of the system makers prefer the OEM version. And it’s cheaper because the legal licenses differ from the retail version. As you read on, you will get to know what is the reason, being OEM cheaper than the retail version, whereas the functionality remains the same.

Now, let’s talk about a technical difference. If you come up with the Windows 7 OEM, then the license is fixed to the first motherboard it’s introduced to. But, Windows 8/8.1 OEM version doesn’t come tied to a fixed motherboard.

The OEM copies till the Windows 7 version, cannot be transferred from one PC to another. However, that restriction is eliminated in the Windows 8/8.1, where you can install a copy in different system builds. You can change all the hardware you want. So, in a nutshell, you can upgrade all your hardware except the motherboard if you are using Windows 7 OEM version or older but if you have a Windows 8/8.1 OEM version you can upgrade your motherboard.

This version generally comes pre-installed with the system, where it is pre-activated from the factory. User-end activation is not needed. With an OEM version installed, Microsoft won’t give you free support. However, you have to pay for the support service. So, who can give you the free support? That’s the system builder/manufacturer who can only help you with your problem at no cost, where some conditions apply depending on the manufacturers.

Here’s the legal license difference, the license agreement, and the support agreement is between you and the system builder (Not Microsoft). You can also buy an OEM copy if you want a genuine Windows at a cheap price. But OEM copies come in two different architectures i.e 32-bit and 64-bit. So, you have to decide a specific one to buy.

And, at last you can only install an OEM version being a fresh installation on your PC. In other words, you cannot use an OEM version as an installation for upgrading your older Windows.

Head to the next page, to continue reading what’s different in the Retail version.

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